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Old 06-08-2018, 06:37   #16
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Re: Future cruiser

My recommendation is to get a small cruising-style boat: 26 to 32' range, depending on the boat. Older, cheaper is probably best. You want one with all the standard systems of a cruising boat, so decent rig, inboard engine, galley, head, plumbing, electrical and water systems. A decent berth or two, and good anchor gear so you can get off the dock for a while.

Now, go cruising with this boat. Go learn if this life is for you. A book can't tell you this, nor can forum babblers. You'll also begin to learn what is important to you about Thee Boat.

Sailing is easy. It's all the other things about boat ownership and cruising that are the real challenge.

It's possible you may know enough to buy your last boat first, but most people aren't so prescient.
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Old 06-08-2018, 06:44   #17
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Re: Future cruiser

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Originally Posted by Tetepare View Post
I too prefer to relax. Sometimes relax means making the right decision, as we recently had to do- leaving port at 10:30pm to avoid coming Force 9 winds, and making landfall and entering a poorly lighted port with many unlit bouys at night.



Knowing sail trim can make all the difference when it's really needed. Making port before a storm thanks to extra speed is relaxing; having 90 minutes to go and having to cross the bar in a storm is not. The latter isn't "bad luck" it's inexperience.



There is often some sort of arrogance that comes with "new big" boaters who think they know everything, or at least enough. Not that this is unique to boating- if anything, the attitude is far exceeded in amateur auto racing. The thing about auto racing is that the new guys with big motors and attitude usually learn pretty fast the hard way, whereas the "new big" boaters may go years before they learn the lesson.


Case in point, I joined a "new big" sailing vessel off Australia that had left the US east coast, spent a year in the Carib, gone through the Panama Canal and all the islands. First big storm, and it was like sailing was scary and new- "we're going to rip the main" no we won't, oops there it goes. "we should lash the jib" no we don't need to, then five minutes later I'm burried under seas lashing the jib as it's trying to escape overboard.


Who needs to read charts or know what the declination is? Nobody, we have a chart plotter. Who cares about storms, we have a big boat with a turbo motor. Yada yada. Oh my gosh, our anchor "mysteriously" failed to hold in the storm.


Perhaps the best indicator of experience vs. "tough guy" is the local USCG. Though the young kids have extensive training, and are purportedly led by those with experience, it a regular observation that they have difficulties with boat control, knowing the lay of the sea, etc. I'm sure they, like the "big new" boaters, think the problems they encounter are typical, or normal, while those of us watching understand that most of the problems are avoidable and self-induced.


It's funny sad the typical problems that magically happen- motor won't start due to suddenly bad batteries, dock damage due to improper springs, dragging anchor, running aground, no tool to repair something, etc. It isn't bad luck. It's inexperience, often with arrogance. And as we hear the story about this terrible bad luck, we often just sit and listen- because the "big new" owner isn't open to hearing that it wasn't "bad luck".


Carry on! We'll be here when you need us.
I'm not seeing any issues there which are related to the boat size really, just the people? Wouldn't they have the same problems on a smaller boat?
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Old 06-08-2018, 06:52   #18
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Re: Future cruiser

Here's the thing. It depends on the type of person you are. Some feel more comfortable starting on a small boat, some are just confident and capable and can start on big. I'm next to a guy now who started on a Bougainvillea 63!
Another mates first boat was/ is a Lagoon 450.

Go with what your comfortable with, others don't know what your capable of only you do.

Ann mentioned a Top hat 25 abit earlier, many think a boat like that is a great starter boat, tuff, forgiving etc, I've owned one, my second boat, personally I think they are a pig. I'm now very much in the buy your last boat first club (if you can afford it) you'll save a fortune and you will adapt. I know this isn't traditional wisdom.

A good mate of mine who owns a Amel super maramu said "I got lucky, I managed to get two boats for the price of one, my first boat and my last boat!" BTW he just finished a 17 year circumnavigation, started from scratch.
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Old 06-08-2018, 06:54   #19
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Re: Future cruiser

Welcome to Cruisers Forum...
I would argue that cruising and sailing are two different things... if you want to learn to sail.. to really sail get something small with a tiller..
If you want to learn to cruise then either crew with a cruiser of get something big enough to live on...
In either case i do recommend learning some rules of the road.. not difficult for the basics .. there are many on line courses or your local library..
Best of luck and once again welcome to the forum..
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Old 06-08-2018, 07:01   #20
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Re: Future cruiser

A small boat is definitely the way to go when learning (and if it doesn't have an engine that's even better) especially if you are learning on your own

More to the point, a small older boat that doesn't cost a lot is even better to learn with because when you make a mistake, it's not the end of the world if you scratch it or break something

Plus old smaller boats 27' or less are many times hard to hurt

I learned sailing by racing Beach Cats starting with buoy racing in a lake to race 15 miles or so offshore in the Gulf. This was on a 17' Beach Cat

I also completed 100 mile races on 17' and 20' Beach Cat which had no engine or anchor

When you pull a "string" on a small boat something happens NOW whereas on a big boat it could 45 seconds or so for the boat to react.

Beach cats have a sail area to displacement of like 75 to 1 whereas many monohulls are around 14-17 to 1

Now I've gone from the Beach Cats to a small cruising 27' full keel boat. It's much easier to handle this cruising boat in 20 knots plus than it is to handle a beach cat in 10-12 knots on a lake especially if using a spinnaker on the beach cat
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Old 06-08-2018, 07:16   #21
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Re: Future cruiser

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I'm not seeing any issues there which are related to the boat size really, just the people? Wouldn't they have the same problems on a smaller boat?



Well, that's a damned good two points!


Yes, the "big new" tend to have a different perspective of themselves than those that bootstrapped into bigger boats over decades.


Smaller boats are more easily handled. They draw less water, the anchor may be often pulled up by hand, they are less complicated (arguably inviting one to learn yacht systems rather than call the fix-it man). Sails are more easily handled, they are more easily docked. They do less damage when they hit another boat. They are towed easier. The effects of sail trim are far more easily learned- the smaller the boat, the faster one recognizes the importance of sail trim and weight distribution...I got very embarrassed (rephrase: I embarrassed myself) last year when I bought a Sunfish.


Mike O hit on something big too: developing a feel for what you like. Heck, sailing for decades and experiencing many boats we still can't decide what to do. The Gozzard 44 is the only boat that ticks all the boxes...except the "retire early and live comfortably to 90" box.



More than anything, one might learn what one does NOT want. Is a sugar scoop transom required for egress or do you mind dropping down a vertical ladder to the dinghy? Traveler through the cockpit? Real, high quality teak or is Ikea cheapo looks-like-wood ok? Storage. Ability to handle sails. Furlers, in mast or otherwise. Amount of @&(% brightwork to maintain. Access to systems. Etc. Starting smaller gives one the opportunity to experience what one likes and doesn't like, what one wants or can live without, without big investment and risk.
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Old 06-08-2018, 07:23   #22
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Re: Future cruiser

Another reason to go smaller and cheaper is that you really do not know yet whether you will like sailing

Go to any marina and you will see more unused boats that those that are actually used

I sailed/raced beach cats for about 15 years, but was still unsure on whether or not I'd enjoy sailing larger, slower boats which is why I bought a smaller cruising boat first
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Old 06-08-2018, 07:37   #23
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Re: Future cruiser

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I sailed/raced beach cats for about 15 years, but was still unsure on whether or not I'd enjoy sailing larger, slower boats which is why I bought a smaller cruising boat first



LOL. We bought the bigger boat as a place to sleep and store food and supplies with the intent to continue to sail primarily the beach cat. The cat was sold three years later.


Quality, fast beach cats are the best way to learn that when something goes wrong, everything goes wrong, and when it goes wrong it goes wrong fast.
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Old 06-08-2018, 07:48   #24
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Re: Future cruiser

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LOL. We bought the bigger boat as a place to sleep and store food and supplies with the intent to continue to sail primarily the beach cat. The cat was sold three years later.


Quality, fast beach cats are the best way to learn that when something goes wrong, everything goes wrong, and when it goes wrong it goes wrong fast.
Which is why they are great to learn on especially if you race them. A few pitch poles when racing downwind tend to be a good teaching aid especially if you are going in excess of say 18 knots (and your girlfriend or wife happens to be crewing for you)

My last two Beach Cats where a Nacra 6.0 and a Nacra F-17 with spinnaker for racing on the Gulf Coast

I did cycling between beach cats and cruisiers. I was boatless for a few years but got back into it up here where I'd only had fishing boats before

One last thing, I was lucky with the cruising boat I did buy because it had just returned (almost) from a 2000 mile plus cruise to Florida and the Bahama's and was totally outfitted. The anchors have saved me tons of times

You don't anchor beach cats .......
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Old 06-08-2018, 08:31   #25
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Re: Future cruiser

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That's true. But sailing around on a 20 something boat doesn't really do it either.
But getting out on numerous boats does.
Logically, If you plan to do a lot swimming,then you will want something with a walk thru transom, or sugar scoop. But if you worry about night time security from 2am swimmers;-) then it's counter productive.
Just like every feature on every boat, there is a trade off. Experiencing as many boats as possible helps fine tune what is best for you.
The op is talking about spending big money on a cat. all I'm suggesting is him fine tuning his desires a little before hand.
I also am in the camp of learn on a cheap smaller boat. If you have the time. I am on year 4 of a 26 foot. Hoping next year to buy a cat to start cruising. I personally have learnt a ton from this boat. Sailing, docking, anchoring, some maintenance, ect. Yes I could have learnt all that on a big boat, but the cost of each mistake would have been greater by far. Way more than the minimal depreciation I'll see when I sell this boat. Plus since I am not able to cruise until my kids are grown, I have time to do it this way.
I recognize that the op does not have this same restriction. I would just hate seeing him spend big bucks on a boat others tell him is a great choice, when it turns out to not be right for him.
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Old 06-08-2018, 08:51   #26
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Re: Future cruiser

About 15yrs. ago I did a survey on a 47' Catalina for a fella who had literally never been on a boat other than a ferry.

After the deal closed it took him two weeks to get all his stuff onboard and learn the systems. The first time he left the dock from Pickering. Ontario (single handed) he headed down The St. Lawrence.

For months afterwards I waited to hear of his fate on the news.

One year later I got an email from Trinidad ..... "C'mon down, I'm having a great time".

John has become one of my favourite people on this planet and he strongly believes in living to the fullest and fearing nothing.

It also helps that he's pretty bright and very mechanically/electrically savvy.
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Old 06-08-2018, 11:42   #27
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Re: Future cruiser

Seems the main function of this thread has become to battle. If you post cruisers like to set sails and relax someone will reply like it means they don't know how to trim sails. If someone says sailing is easy someone will say but "big" boats are too hard to handle.

As someone who started out here 10 years ago having never sailed and now has been full time sailing 2 years I'm going to stick to my "get the boat you feel you want at the start". Maybe it will be wrong, but you know that that means? It means you replace it just as will will have to if you go the small boat route. But if right you learn on the boat type you really want and save the $$$$$$ and time of the boat upgrades. I wish I hadn't allowed CF posters to talk me out of getting the boat I wanted at the start. All I really learned was a $10k lesson that didn't need to be learned.
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Old 06-08-2018, 11:48   #28
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Re: Future cruiser

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Seems the main function of this thread has become to battle. If you post cruisers like to set sails and relax someone will reply like it means they don't know how to trim sails. If someone says sailing is easy someone will say but "big" boats are too hard to handle.

As someone who started out here 10 years ago having never sailed and now has been full time sailing 2 years I'm going to stick to my "get the boat you feel you want at the start". Maybe it will be wrong, but you know that that means? It means you replace it just as will will have to if you go the small boat route. But if right you learn on the boat type you really want and save the $$$$$$ and time of the boat upgrades. I wish I hadn't allowed CF posters to talk me out of getting the boat I wanted at the start. All I really learned was a $10k lesson that didn't need to be learned.
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Old 06-08-2018, 12:03   #29
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Re: Future cruiser

It also has a lot to do with the type of sailing/cruising you plan to do.

If you single hand locally a lot, you wouldn't want a big boat.

If you plan to liveaboard, you'd probably at some point want a larger boat

If you're not sure the rather slow cruising life is for you, you might actually want to begin with a small boat.

If you sail the Chesapeake Bay for example you may want a smaller boat with a 4' draft or so which allows you to explore some of the backwater areas rather than just sticking to the main channels and well traveled routes

It's pretty much up to each sailor

If you plan to race and want to get really got at the sailing part of cruising, get a smaller boat first.
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Old 06-08-2018, 13:30   #30
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Re: Future cruiser

I donít see people battling. I do see people offering their own opinions based on their own experiences.
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